Things we did so naturally in childhood
Fade away seamlessly
We can’t recall exactly when we stopped
Screaming at the top of our lungs for no reason
Skipping down the sidewalk
Twirling around in circles until we were dizzy
Sprinting full speed to the stop sign on the corner
Rolling down the grassy hill
Stepping over cracks so we wouldn’t break our momma’s back
But what if the invitation to reclaim this innate playfulness
Awakened a sense of joy
That reminded you being here, being alive is everything.
The question: When was the last time? came from a conversation with my two new friends from New York, Joe and Greg. Joe shared that he and his buddies were discussing: When was the last time you screamed at the top of your lungs for no reason? When was the last time you sprinted full speed running down the street? These things that we do so naturally in childhood fade away and yet, when we allow ourselves to express these things the release that comes feels so good.
The movie Big starring Tom Hanks flashes into my mind. He is physically a man but still a child. People love him and are intrigued by his sense of curiosity, the way he sees the world, the things that fly out of his mouth and the unconventional way he lives. We all delight in the famous scene where he literally jumps on the giant floor piano at FAO Schwartz playing Heart and Soul as he leaps from note to note, drawing a crowd who applaud this man living with childlike wonder.
That child inside of all of us longs to come out and play even if we only permit it in controlled environments when we are safe among friends and family who love us no matter how foolish or silly we may appear. Who think: You’re so crazy! and love us for it even if they don’t choose to join in. But the joy we experience engulfs all who share this life with us so our excitement in the play is infectious and often contagious where others jump in laughing and scratching their heads in disbelief: I don’t know the last time I did this.
Memorial Day weekend is upon us so I am heading to my houseboat on Lake Cumberland where I intend to play with family and friends as this lightens my heart and reminds me that I am here in this life to experience joy. I will plunge into the waters no matter how cold because I simply must – it marks the beginning of the boating season. I will swim through the back channel secretly playing Mermaid splashing around on my adventure and delighting in the magic found only in the water. We will sit on the top of the houseboat soaking up the sun all day and gazing at the stars at night, telling stories we have told a thousand times and laughing again and again as if we had never heard them before, feeding off each other’s joy and silliness, listening to Johnny Cash, John Mellencamp, The Rolling Stones and all our favorites from throughout the years that are in line with our carefree time away from the responsibilities that normally fill our days. And yes, I will be asking them: When's the last time…?
The invitation this day is to reclaim this innate sense of playfulness that awakens your sense of joy (whatever that means for you) and reminds you that being here, being alive is everything.